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Government allows Chinese to own British nuclear plants

The chancellor George Osborne has given the go-ahead to Chinese companies eventually taking a majority stake in British nuclear power plants.

He said Chinese investment was likely to start with minority stakes but could encompass majority stakes in future nuclear power stations.

He made the announcement at Taishan nuclear power station in southern China, which is a collaboration between French energy company EDF and the China General Nuclear Power Company.

EDF plans to build two new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset and the Chinese firm is also expected to take part in the scheme.

The Conservative MP said he would “guarantee” a dedicated section of Bridgwater College for Chinese nationals looking to start work in west Somerset.

The Treasury said any investment must comply with “rigorous regulatory standards for safety and security”.

The announcement followed the signing of a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) on civil nuclear collaboration between the UK and China.

The Treasury said the memorandum would ensure British companies can be part of China’s new nuclear programme as well encouraging Chinese investment in British nuclear projects and named Rolls-Royce, International Nuclear Services and engineering firm Mott MacDonald among the beneficiaries.

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